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ESP experiment on volunteers

  1. Dec 6, 2015 #1
    Here is a trick performed very elegantly.
    This trick is a bit natural looking also, as the volunteer's guess is correct but not a perfect one.
    What phenomena is really going on here?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2015 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    What is your take on it?
    The best option is to just describe the trick phenominologically, then work out the natural way it would have to go. Always remember that it is a trick.

    You may want to try the James Randi Education Foundation ... there are magicians there can help you understand the principles of magic.
  4. Dec 6, 2015 #3
    The only way that the volunteer having box on head can know if the box has a screen inside it or speakers. But it doesn't looks like when he is giving box at an angle and also he has the blindfold.
    Also if that would be the case why not the volunteer is able to draw an accurate drawing?
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  5. Dec 6, 2015 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    Your suggestion is, basically, that the receiver is a plant. Pretty good but your method is over elaborate.
    All he needs is a cue as to which card the sender chose. The magician could use a codeword or tap the person or something. This is helped if the magician arranges for a very non general card to be picked, then it is simple to guess the kind of picture to expect. In this case, the receiver still has to draw something vague to cover the possibilities... ie a triangle over a box is a xmas tree and a P is a toothbrush.

    There are other ways... what if the sender and receiver are genuine volunteers?
    Imagine that the card selected by the sender is one the magician chooses, and the receiver's pen has no ink in it.
    The magician uncovers the picture already there by stealth when he turns it around.
    The receiver has no opportunity to say, "hey, thats not what I drew" (but why draw anything at all?) And in one case the receiver pic looked more like the intended object than the sender pic...

    Notice that esp is not real so we assume (in the first approximation) that no information passes between the sender and receiver in the trick. Your idea is simpler, so its likely that the receiver is a plant. If we see evidence they are not, then thats OK, he doesn't need to be if the magician works a little harder.
  6. Dec 6, 2015 #5
    But the magician is not seeing the card which the sender is choosing.
    For this renowned magician the volunteers chosen must be random.
    Even if he says a codeword to the receiver, then after the trick is over, volunteer would know what the trick was and he can spread it in public.
  7. Dec 6, 2015 #6
    It's weird but even I had a vision of a triangle :) That's strange.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
  8. Dec 6, 2015 #7

    Simon Bridge

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    Have you never seen magic show?
    Magician says "pick a card, any card but don't show me the card" but he always knows which one it is. Its a standard trick everyone does. There are several ways to make sure someone picks a card you choose, it's called a "force"; or one you can work out.

    Lets say their are two decks, one he shows the audience and one the sender selects from... but there are other ways. Now he knows which card without having to see it.

    Even famous magicians use plants in the audience, so that is no objection. There are ways to keep them quiet... ie a non disclosure agreement, or misdirection.

    Has anyone attempted to find and interview the participants in the videos?

    However, I have also sketched out how the trick may be done without a plant.

    Remember that it is a trick. Keep remembering it is a trick. This is not real magic: everything must obey known laws of Nature (and not even the tricky modern ones). Magicians main tools are misdirection, palming, and trick props. Look for these things.

    It may be this magician used a different method... off the information available, what has been described is two possible approaches. Come up with another one?
  9. Dec 6, 2015 #8
    Means you were a volunteer in this magician's show?
  10. Dec 6, 2015 #9
    Your another method that sender is being forced to choose a specific card and magician has already drawn that image on a board topsy turvy so it looks as a mystery, and the receiver is being given a pen with no ink is not looking appropriate as receiver can say he has not drawn anything.
    " But how when magician asks receiver that a psychic image has popped in your mind, the receiver nods? This means he is a plant?"
  11. Dec 6, 2015 #10
    No, I knew there would be something of triangular shape before they showed the pictures. I didn't see a toothbrush, tough.
  12. Dec 6, 2015 #11

    Simon Bridge

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    If the receiver shook his head (answering "no psychic image received"), then the magicians patter changes to suit. Perhaps they wait a while until the volunteer decides to play along? We have not been shown video of the failed tricks.

    Further, the receiver never gets a chance to say, "I never drew that." Perhaps after the final cut but we dont see that part.

    Derrin Brown used the method with David Tenant in Trick or Treat (automatic writing trick), and I've used it myself. Dynamo makes extensive use of plants, usually movie extras but sometimes celebrities. Part of the misdirection is that few people believe that the method would work. But if you don't like what I've sketched out for you, come up with your own better one. If you think you've just witnessed genuine esp, then there's this Eiffel Tower I'd like to sell you.

    Triangles are very common, if you need to cold read an esp trick you want to draw one.
  13. Dec 7, 2015 #12
    But the tricks are never failed. That means you are saying for video this trick is okay but if we perform live it would be busted in end by the volunteer saying " I did not drew anything."
    Whole trick then flops for audience.
    This magician is even selling his trick in a kit, which means there might be some secret stuff in cards or blindfold?
    Yes I am not beleiving in ESP here but trying to find out a genuine logic for this trick.
  14. Dec 7, 2015 #13
    You really should look into the difference between observation and interpretation. You did not observe that the trick never failed. You observed that in three cases, the trick worked and was captured on camera.

    Illusion, misdirection, and sleight-of-hand are the rule for stage magic, without exception. If you are confused by what you see, then likely something you believe about what you are seeing is not true.
  15. Dec 7, 2015 #14
    Derren Brown claims the way this sort of trick is done is that the entire audience has been primed to have a certain thing in mind. If, for instance, he wants two audience members to select a giraffe when he asks them to think of an animal, he will have put a picture of a giraffe in the lobby where all would see it when entering but in such a way that it doesn't catch their full attention. Even better if the lobby has several abstract giraffe-like images that work subliminally.

    In the patter used to surround the trick he will say things that exclude more common animals, especially cats and dogs, "Now, you don't want to pick something like a cat or dog, do you, because that would be too easy to both choose by accident, so think of something more exotic, that you wouldn't fit in your house, or even in London outside of a zoo." Here he says "fit" as if by accident when he means "find." So, the listener is primed to select an animal that wouldn't fit in their house, and, if the lobby images are well done, the person should latch onto a giraffe. He would probably include some other veiled pushes in that direction as well.

    That, at least, is his contention about how the trick is done. It may well be, but he is a very tricky individual and that may just be part of the misdirection.
  16. Dec 8, 2015 #15

    Simon Bridge

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    Derrin Brown often lies about how his tricks are performed... it's part of his misdirection.
    Still - that could be one way. I've seen Derrin prime people to draw the letter A for example.

    ... well to know for sure what the genuine logic of this trick is, you should find someone who has purchased the kit and ask them. All we can do is make educated guesses about how the trick could have been done.
    You are correct: the fact there is a kit suggests that there is something about the cards ... a trick deck so the sender always gets a particular card and a marker pen that does not write would be my guesses (+ instructions) since those are the key props.

    Note: the person set up in a trick like this seldom outs the magician very publically: that would be "being a bad sport" (Dynamo often relies on celebrities wanting to look good on TV ferinstance) ... but the magician does not have to rely on that.
    The receiver in this trick never gets a chance to say anything to the whole audience at once: he does not get the microphone, he remains blind at the reveal, and gets whisked off stage as soon as the trick is done. He may tell everyone close by, once he's back in the audience, that the pic is not what he drew ... but few of the audience will hear that and a bigger production could whist the volunteers off backstage insread (to enjoy promotional treats or something - you can figure this out).
    But lets say a receiver manages to get to the mic and call out "hey that's not what I drew?" The magician can simply invte the audience to doubt his word ... "clearly you did: how do you know, you were blindfolded" etc.

    So it is unusual that someone will; be able to spoil the trick in the way described. In that rare case, do you think that the video of that performance would be edited into a promotional video? The video we have only shows tricks that worked - we do not see video of any of the tricks that don't work ... and the magician says in the clip that it does not always work: the receiver pic is not always as good a match as the ones in the video. This process is called "cherry picking" and it is common in advertising and pseudoscience.

    Seriously - I should not have to do all this work for you.
    I have outlined very common approaches to this sort of trick that have been used many times by myself and other magicians through history.
    I suggest you invest in a book on magic or look up the many "how this trick was done" videos online to see how similar tricks get done. Start with the simple ones and build up: there are no original tricks - they are all variations and combinations of existing ones.
    You should also study the techniques of skeptical inquirey and read up on common pseudoscience and charlatan debunking.
    We'd like to think that we are not easily fooled but tricks are usually embarrassingly simple once revealed.
  17. Dec 8, 2015 #16


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    Look carefully starting at 2:02. First, it looks like he is presenting the bottom card and putting it at the top of the deck, but he actually puts it back inside the deck, leaving the top card unchanged. Then the person who pics the card doesn't take the card, just touches it. Then there is a delay (misdirection) before the person can see the card. I contend that the top card was chosen beforehand and was known to the magician.
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